25 March 2018 / Team News

Unexpected bonus point win for Emlyn


On their first appearance at Dôl Wiber since early January, Emlyn made their supporters wait until the second half before putting on a display which left the visitors’ reeling from the speed and accuracy of the Emlyn attacks as the red and whites ran in four tries to claim not only the victory but a try bonus point as well. Prior to that the game had been dominated by both sides’ stern defences, with neither side able to break the deadlock.

In fact, it was the visitors who led at half time by six points to three but should have been leading by more. Their powerful scrum gave the home side tremendous problems throughout the match but, when the pressure came on close to their line, the red and whites, with a little bit of luck, managed to thwart Bedlinog’s efforts to score a try. The luck came on the half hour mark when Bedlinog had been camped on the Emlyn line and, instead of taking the relatively easy shot at goal, opted for a scrum five metres from the home line. After two re-set scrums they finally managed to drive straight and a try looked a certainty as they crossed the Emlyn line only for their number eight to knock the ball forwards.

Prior to that the try scoring opportunities had been non-existent as defences dominated and the only scores of the half were penalty kicks, one by Mitchell Jones for Emlyn and two by Aled Parry for the visitors. Despite experiencing a difficult afternoon in the scrums the home side forwards balanced things up by completely dominating the line outs. Time and again second row Dyfed Morgan, number eight Brynmor Jones and, in the second half, replacement Dylan Davies stole Bedlinog ball at the line out. When it was Emlyn ball the accurate throwing of skipper Alex Williams to Jones at the tail of the line out provided the home side with some excellent attacking ball, especially in the second half.

Whatever was said at half time certainly galvanised the red and whites and they scored the first try of the game after only two minutes of the half. From a line out near Bedlinog’s ten metre line Jones palmed the ball down the scrum half Mike Jones who fired out a pass to centre Steffan Evans. Evans’s run took him past the initial defence and from the resultant ruck skipper Williams carried the ball forward up to the line. When he was eventually brought down the ball was swiftly moved out along the backs for full back Ashley Sutton to cross in the corner for an unconverted try.

The next twenty minutes followed a similar pattern to the first half with play basically occurring between the two ten metre lines. Parry regained the lead for Bedlinog with a well struck long range effort, and Mitchell Jones saw his even longer effort fall just short. It took an inspired moment from full back Ashley Sutton to break the deadlock. Fielding a ball just outside his twenty two he started to counter attack and, when faced with the advancing visitors defence, he put in a long kick downfield. It then became a foot race between himself and winger Llyr Jones and, when a Bedlinog defender fell on the ball just short of his line, it was Jones who snaffled the ball off him to cross for a try converted by Dan Davies.

When Parry actually missed a penalty kick with fifteen minutes to go Bedlinog realised that they would need to score tries to win the game and began to use their three quarter line as an attacking rather than purely defensive force. This, if anything, played into Emlyn’s hands and with flanker Callum Evans leading the way in tackling there was no way through for the visitors. With their front row unable to sustain their effort at scrum time, and Dylan Davies closing off the Bedlinog possession at the line out, it seemed only a matter of time before the red and whites extended their lead. When it eventually came it was probably one of the best tries scored at Dôl Wiber this season.

From a line out some thirty metres out, number eight Jones tapped the ball down to replacement scrum half Dafydd Evans. Evans reacted to the bouncing ball by dive passing the ball to centre Steffan Evans. In a move straight from the training ground the centre, who had another excellent game, dummied to the supporting runners on his inside and burst through a would be tackler to feed Llyr Jones. The speedy Jones needed no second invitation to accelerate away from the cover and cross for a try converted by Dan Davies.

Sensing the unexpected chance of a bonus point win the crowd really got behind the home side and the red and whites ran the ball from everywhere as they stretched the Bedlinog defence. It was more like watching seven a side rugby as the ball was flung from one side of the field to the other. The try when it came owed a great deal to the vision of full back Sutton. A bouncing ball, this time from a ruck, was again shipped out along the Emlyn three quarter line. Sutton entered the line at pace and, spotting that the Bedlinog cover was slow to come across, he kicked ahead and, without reducing his speed won the race, picked up the ball to dive and score the important fourth try converted by Dan Davies.

When the final whistle was blown the general consensus was that the score was not a true reflection of the game as, for long periods, it was the visitors who were the dominant force. Fortunately for the red and whites their defence managed, sometimes desperately, to keep Bedlinog at bay. With the West derby against Narberth coming up next week it was nice to see some Emlyn players put in first class performances, notably man of the match Ashley Sutton, number eight Brynmor Jones, and the midfield general Steffan Evans.

At the end of the match the players presented veteran prop Dai Bryant with a framed jersey signed by them all to mark his five hundred appearances for Emlyn. Bryant had reached this milestone a fortnight ago up in Beddau but the players felt it fitting to present the gift to this long serving prop at the next home game. He becomes only the second Emlyn player to achieve this notable milestone following Caerwyn “Cads” Davies who retired after five hundred and two appearances for the red and whites.

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